While the Pixel 4 series will be for everyone, its most exciting feature, Motion Sense, will only work in certain countries. After just releasing Android 10 to existing Pixel phones, Google is preparing for the unveil of its next-generation, high-end Pixels next month.
Motion Sense product statement
According to the Best Buy Pixel 4 product page, Motion Sense works in "US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and most European countries." Motion Sense will not work in Japan, and Google seems adamant about how Motion Sense will not work there.
Google said that Motion Sense would only be available in a few countries. We now know which ones.
Google seems content with launching the feature in a few countries, though Pixel 4 buyers in countries outside of Motion Sense capabilities may reconsider their decision to purchase the upcoming smartphones altogether. Motion Sense for Google is reminiscent of Apple's 3D Touch, a feature the company unveiled on its flagship iPhone 6S back in 2016 but kept away from its budget-friendly iPhone SE.
Now, the company has kept it on the flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max but didn't unveil it for the budget-friendly iPhone XR — maintaining something of a fragmented experience for iPhone customers. The Wall Street Journal now reports that Apple will remove 3D Touch from its 2019 iPhones.
When companies fragment a feature, whether it discriminates in hardware, software, or even the geographic locations of potential buyers, it pays a terrible price.
What is Motion Sense?
Motion Sense is a feature due to be released on the upcoming Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL when it is announced in October. Motion Sense uses air gestures to perform on-screen actions, similar to Samsung's own Air View and Air Gesture in the Galaxy S3 back in 2012.
Motion Sense allows smartphone users to perform functions such as skipping songs, silencing phone calls, and snoozing alarms, all without touching the phone.
Motion Sense is made possible by Google's Soli chip that will go into the top bezel of the upcoming Pixel 4. The Soli chip will power an "Aware" sensor that will work with two features, "Skip" and "Silence" for music playback.
Google showcased the Project Soli chip when it placed the chip into a Wear OS smartwatch and performed the same functions. It's possible that Wear OS smartwatches will see the integration of the Project Soli chip at some point down the line, though one can never tell when.
Pixel 4 comes with Android 10 pre-installed
Android 10 just landed this week for Pixel phones, but the Pixel 4 series will be the first Pixels to come with Android 10 pre-installed. Android 10 comes with features such as Family Link to control child usage times, Live Caption for the hard-of-hearing and situations where the phone need be silent, a system-wide Dark Theme, gesture navigation controls for contemporary controls, Smart Reply for easy access to information within notifications, along with features such as HDR10 and HDR10+ video playback, AudioPlaybackCapture (Screen Capture for Audio), multiple eSIM support, and 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) support, among others.
AOSP and Project Soli: Two future partnering initiatives?
The Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, like the Pixel phones before them, will come developer-friendly, seeing that Google leads the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) initiative. Mountain View released Android 10 to AOSP this week, allowing developers to mod and tinker with the new system update as they see fit. The benefit of all this tinkering is that new ROMs (read-only memory) and customizations will develop.
Seeing that Google wants Motion Sense to become a success, it seems likely that the Soli chip and Aware sensor could make their way to all Android phones in the future. With AOSP developers, Google could find new ways to make the most of the Aware sensor and Motion Sense than it knew to start. After all, Google has released its artificial intelligence, Google Assistant, for all Android smartphones. It's not farfetched to think that Project Soli will bless all of Android and not just Pixel phones.
Of course, the Project Soli chip, Aware sensor, and Motion Sense could become an ace in the hole for Google with its upcoming OS, Fuchsia, as well.